Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth (Book 1) by Holly Bell

Asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch Amanda Cadabra is a survivor. After all, her family’s bus went over a Cornish cliff.


Now the presentable but irritating Inspector Trelawney is dogging her footsteps as he investigates the unexplained deaths. But that’s the least of her problems. Amanda has just got a furniture restoration job at the old English Manor of Sunken Madley with its murky past.

Armed only with a wand and Tempest, her grumpy reincarnated cat, she’s going in. A body, ghosts, hidden tunnels, chills and unexplained lights; can Amanda solve the mystery in time and save the village from the scandal of murder?

The Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries Book 1 is a humorous British cozy mystery.

A little about Holly first:
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Humorous and quintessentially English with excitement and magic.

Cat adorer and chocolate lover, Holly Bell is a photographer and video maker when not writing. Holly lives in the UK and is a mixture of English, Scottish, Cornish and Welsh, among other ingredients. She had long experience of non-fiction writing before being told she could write cosy mysteries!

Her favourite feline is a black cat called Bobby. Join the newsletter for updates http://amandacadabra.com/come-on-in/

Diane Andersen’s Review: 5-Stars

A cold case mystery, a quaint English village steeped in mystical lore and an orphaned girl with magical abilities all combine into this enchanting first novel in a series by an English author who makes no bones about the fact she writes in UK style. For this reader, that only adds to the enchantment and immersion into this marvelous tale that is reminiscent of some childhood favorites of mine along with a certain modern wizarding series that redefined children’s literature for a whole new generation.

More than just being a nod to these prior works, Bell’s series garners its own rightful place in modern young adult literature. There are even endearing references to beloved film stars like Emma Watson and character names like, Hogarth, that lightly pay homage to a magical series “that-shall-not-be-named” here. Like many children’s series, Bell adheres to certain tropes that have spell-bounded readers for centuries. Amanda Cadabra (as in abra cadabra?) is an ordinary orphaned girl with extraordinary abilities and a mystery to solve. Add in that she also has severe asthma and enjoys woodworking with levitated tools by casting a magical spell or two. When Detective Sergeant Trelawney comes to call to resurrect a 20-year-old cold case involving the deaths of her parents, he asks all the right questions of her evasive grandparents to lure the reader word by word into the story that keeps one turning pages to the end. Fortunately, there are more stories pending in the series and once these characters capture a reader’s heart, they’ll want to keep reading more.

The only issues I had with this story was the confusion over target audience. On the surface, it reads like a middle grade or possibly YA novel. The cover art is whimsical and stylized, thus reinforcing this notion. However, a few chapters in and I came to realize the protagonist is no child but a 30-something woman! A glance at the age bracket on the blurb and taglines indicate a suggested age range of 8 to 18. Not many children this age can relate to a 30-year-old woman and few adults would likely pick up this book, unless they are the 30-somethings themselves who were raised on magical YA series of the late 90s and early 2000s. Still, for those of us who somehow never outgrew children’s literature and still revel in our favorite school book stories and fairytales, this is the kind of guilty indulgence that every adult needs on occasion, to perhaps, find the magic in reading all over again.

Karen Meyer’s Review: 4.5-Stars

A fun book set in an English village, staring a young lady with severe asthma and uses her extraordinary ability to help solve the mystery. With a title like Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey Hole Truth, I can see this book flying off the shelf. The only thing I think it lacks is a more captivating cover and because of that I give it 4.5 stars.

Please feel free to share your review in the comments.

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